Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thoughts while in Sara's living room hanging out with a few friends

So the title is quite a fact right now. Everyone is eating ice cream. I am not. Doctor told me not to so probably a good idea to abstain. Sara did make me a cup of coffee though, so I am not completely deprived. She uses Folger's. I'm not quite sure about that. I'm pretty stuck on Tim Horton's. Somehow the whole world of Maxwell House, Folgers, etc, I'm just not sure. Anything you can buy in a huge can for $4.99 I just don't trust. Tim Horton's will do. When I get enough money I would like to graduate up to Kicking Horse whole bean coffee. Pure pleasure in a steaming cup. Need a coffee grinder first.
We went out for supper this evening to celebrate Sara finally being fully certified to teach in the Province of Manitoba. Just needed that Latin American history course. Essential for teaching grade 5.
These are great cookies.
We are just discussing the finer points of blogging. Or maybe it's bloging. Not sure if its a soft "G". Basically all you do is just write. It's great.
We came here to play Settlers. We're still sitting here in the living room. I think this gettogether needs some directing.
"Fussily" - Margaret just said "fussily". Good word. Just thought that was worth noting.
About that Settlers game.....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Moving (Pt. 4)

The new house has been moved into. The old house has been wept over. I think I'll be alright.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Moving (Pt. 3)

So I'm sitting here listening to some good, depressing music, still trying to get a handle on this whole moving thing. I was just sitting in the living room reading War and Peace, knowing that it would probably be the last time I ever get to sit by that window in that living room. I'm something of a sentimentalist, if you haven't figured that out yet. It all gets more amplified when it doesn't seem like anyone else cares. I want moving out to be something of a ceremony, a sacrament even. Everyone else just seems to think of it as just moving, what's the big deal?
I've been wanting to have a good weep over the whole thing, but it hasn't come yet. Damn manhood.
As I sat in the living room I got to thinking that leaving the house behind is like breaking up with a girl. Things will never be the same between the two of us. I'll never get those glimpses inside. I'll see her around, but it will be awkward. I knew her for so long, but now she seems such a stranger. She's seeing someone else now, so am I, but the memories haunt the both of us. Or at least me. Will she even remember me? Jilted. We're both jilted, even though I'm the one who's leaving.
Change like this just makes me too painfully aware of my own human frailty and transience. This house which was just always there, a silent pillar of my life, will no longer be there. 23 years, I just never thought it would end at 23 years. That's it. Seems like such a breath of time. Nothing. But growing up, it was always just there. Never thought it could or would or should end. That just never enters your head. This is home. Home doesn't change. Taken for granted, but in the best way. Trusted. Consistent. Now gone. Something that for 23 years was so real, will soon enough fade to faint memory. I'll forget the creaks. Forget which switch turned on which light. Forget the loose patio stone. Forget the nights shovelling snow, so much snow. Mornings on the patio with birds and squirrels.
As long as we had this house my childhood lived on. Lived on in the place, the land, the small piece of land on McIvor Ave. where I grew up. Learned to walk, bike, read, drink beer and coffee. Ran to from the school bus. My childhood lived here was attached to this land. Now it will pass as my memories of the land pass to nothing. And I'm shoved further into adulthood, now with no place to run home to.
But then I say, get a grip. It's just some grass and wood. Doesn't mean anything (like hell it doesn't! WTF). Home is where the heart is (Hallmark bullshit). But I guess it will be the people who make home home, eventually. For now though, I'm (dis)content to feel this loss deep as I can. Let it make me feel like throwing up. Let it make me want to kick something. Let it break me in pieces. I'll get back together eventually, maybe even stronger than before. But not yet.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Moving (Pt. 2)

Before I give the impression that I'm some sort of socially maladjusted tripe who can't handle a little change I feel that I should tell the other side of things. Damn, change is so conflicting. You want to be excited about new things, but don't want to feel like your shitting on what you're leaving behind. I do love our new house. Especially now that the seizure-inducing colour scheme has been painted over. No one can understand why we would want to move out of North Kildonan, like its the New Jerusalem or something. My quick answer is, "Why not?" Ultimately its not my decision but I can't blame my parents for wanting to move out of a place that once was so full of young life and now that us kids are moving on and moving out seems a bit heartbreakingly full of memories and not much else. My sisters and I are starting out new, why shouldn't Mom and Dad. So why not?
I do love the new house. Its great. Its old. The neighbourhood is wonderful. Its peaceful. That's the first thing I notice the second I open my car door. I can hear birds and children and leaves. Its wonderful.
My parents were saying the other day that they feel they are just looking after the house for a while, as if it has a life of its own which we are privileged enough to participate in for a short time. It was built in 1912. It built into a Victorian world. It knows what the world was like before the 20th century made it so bloody. Its been through the two world wars, the Depression, the Sixties, the rise and the fall of communism. We came bearing our belongings in vans and trucks, the first owners most likely used horses. You can tell the place was built in another era by one simple thing: Closets. They are few and small. My new bedroom doesn't even have one. People had less stuff. We have tons of it, can't find room for it all. But all of this is good, makes you think back and gives you some perspective on things. It is possible to live simply...
[I've worked too hard this week and drank too much beer tonight to go on any further...]

Friday, July 07, 2006


As most people who have any connection with me and my life know, our family is moving. Moving out of the only house we have ever called home. For the past 30 years 429 McIvor Ave. has been lived in by Bert and Alice van Leeuwen, and eventually Tamara, Robyn and Matthew. This little red house has been quite faithful to us over the years. It's hard to put into words how I feel at this point. I can't help but feel like we're abandoning her after so many years of keeping us sheltered from wind, rain, snow and flood (except for that one time...). She wasn't big, but was always somehow big enough. There's something about home that defies trying to describe it. Was it somehow better than any other person's home? Probably not. But it was my home. C. S. Lewis once wrote that "no man loves his city because it is great, but because it is his."
This house is quite wrapped up in our identity as a family, probably in more ways than we realise, that's what the Bachelor of Art in me says anyways. And so moving is not just some benign, meaningless act. It breaks your heart. It's like mourning the passing of a good friend. Like a funeral in a way. A large part of life has just dropped out of it and you're left feeling a bit empty, lost. The world you knew is no longer and now everything looks strange and unfriendly.
But in the same way, after the funeral, after saying goodbye life moves on in mysterious ways. The empty places get filled again. You slowly get to know the new world, adjust to the new light.
Because, all told, I think this move is a good thing. I love our new house, love the neighbourhood. Love the new paint job. And I look forward to making this new house a home.
So in the end, I think you just have to feel the sorrow. Let it take over when it wants to, shed the tears, but don't wallow in it. Mourn, but look ahead to the new world that might be dawning through the tears.